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The Marine Chemist Qualification Board (MCQB) is appointed by the Board of Directors of the National Fire Protection Association.  They are the group that approves the Marine Chemist's Recertification, the Registration to become a Marine Chemist Trainee and the Initial Certification of a Marine Chemist Trainee as well as address occurrences and Rules changes.

It's not easy to become a certificated Marine Chemist.  The interested candidate must first apply to the NFPA Marine Field Service Department to become registered as a Marine Chemist Trainee.  They must pay a fee to the contract manager Marine Gas Hazards Control Program (MGHCP) and sign a Declaration complying with the Marine Chemist Rules.  Once approved by the Marine Chemist Qualification Board (MCQB) members the applicant is required to:

  • Have earned a Bachelor's Degree and complete at least six (6) months of supervised training by three (3) Marine Chemists who have been certified as a Marine Chemist for at least two (2) years.
  • Have completed and passed eighteen (18) training modules and exams.
  • Have completed three hundred (300) hours of supervised training aboard a variety of types of both ocean-going and inland vessels.
  • Have completed at least three (3) years employment experience in the analysis of physical samples in a lab or similar work environment accepted by the MCQB members.

Once all of the above requirements have been met, the Marine Chemist Trainee may apply for Initial Certification to be interviewed and approved by the MCQB members. Upon final approval by ballot from the MCQB members, the Initial Certification candidate is then issued a Marine Chemist's certificate as required by the Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels, (NFPA 306).

The Marine Chemist Qualification Board meets three times a year at various locations – most recently at our NFPA headquarters where I was finally able to meet them in person.

Marine Chemist Picture.jpg

Amy Liu, CMC 706 – the first and currently only female NFPA Marine Chemist


You may be asking what in the world a Marine Chemist is.  Did you know that currently there are only 95
in the United States? Did you know that before any repair involving hot work on or adjacent to fuel tanks or

cargo tanks can begin on a vessel that it first requires a signed Marine Chemist certificate by a Marine

Chemist that has been certified by NFPA?  A Marine Chemist is an individual that is certified by the NFPA

Marine Chemist Qualification Board (MCQB) and is qualified to issue these certificates in compliance

with NFPA 306, OSHA and the US Coast Guard.


The initiation of the Marine Chemist program started after World War I, due to problems with fire and

explosions at US shipyards.  Vessel owners and marine insurance companies approached NFPA to

help control the hazards associated with ship repair and eliminate these disasters.  In answer to their

request NFPA developed Appendix A of the NFPA Marine Regulations. The American Bureau of shipping

(ABS) was first in directing the certification program until 1963 which at that time NFPA took over.  At present

NFPA 306 requires a Marine Chemist’s Certificate whenever hot work repairs are done in, on or adjacent to
tanks or spaces on ships or barges that contain or previously contained combustible or flammable liquids or gases.

Questions on marine chemists? Please leave them below in the comments.  You can also visit our NFPA
Marine Chemist Web Page


Next blog

How to become a Marine Chemist and the role of the Marine Chemist Qualification Board (MCQB)

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